tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC December 20, 2009 7:00am-7:30am EST
ted kennedy is gone. have you noticed? let's play "hardball." i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, missing teddy. one thing has become sadly obvious in the u.s. senate these days, it's the absence of a passionate clear voice that speaks loud difficult and clearly on the need for a national health care plan. is the senate missing its late great lion? what would senator ted kennedy have done to get the democrats to fall in line and bring a republican or two aboard? instead, the big noises you hear are the voices of trouble. joe lieberman, joe the bummer, if you want health care.
john mccain, joe the bummer's best buddy these days. another outlying enemy of health care. let's talk politics. 40 democratic house seats look competitive next year. that means they could go the other way. so what does president obama need to do in 2010 to make sure the jobs crisis and the toxic political climate out there doesn't cost his party in a big way. just like it did back in '94. and could president obama have scored a win in copenhagen? it looks like he did late today. he signed onto a climate control agreement along with china, who up until now had been the great wall against such an agreement. what does this mean for president obama? also, john mccain just couldn't let go of al franken shutting up joe lieberman yesterday. that's in the politics fix tonight. and finally, the left has found a way to sock it to joe lieberman, literally, with sock puppets. that's in the "hardball" "sideshow" tonight. senator bob menendez, a new
verassoa a wyoming republican. i want to listen to something from two years ago. ted kennedy debating the children health care bill. let's listen. >> your taxpayers' money is paying for 72% of our health care coverage costs. do we understand that? now for those that are saying, well, i'm not going to support this. because it costs too much. i'm not going to support this, because it may be 300% of poverty. we get paid $160,000. we are well above the 200% and 300% and 400% of the poverty level. yet we're going to have members on the floor of the senate this afternoon who are going to turn thumbs down to the american families watching the debate and discussion and knowing that our premiums, our health insurance is being paid for by the
american taxpayers. i wonder how people do that. myself, i wonder how they do it. you'd think if they're so offended about federal government spending, or federal government program, that they wouldn't use it themselves. but no, they do. they'll take it. >> senator menendes, it's hard to keep track of the main passions here, the main reasons why democrats disagree with republicans. democrats want a national health program with government involvement. republicans are averse to any major government involvement. you don't hear ted kennedy's voice, you hear a lot of mickey mouse between lieberman and mccain and outliers who are just causing trouble here. where are the passions going to be heard from so we know why we want this bill again? senator menendez? >> first of all, ted kennedy was
not only passionate, but a lion in the senate and a constant of the senate. we certainly miss his voice in this debate. but there's a lot of passion going on in our caucus in support of the reform. because we know what it is to bring millions of people ho have health insurance and make that health insurance stop double-digit premium increases. we know what it is to bring millions of people who go to sleep every night worried they have no health insurance and now will have health insurance. we understand what it means to change from a system based on disease to a system that's preventive. that we can get to people earlier and improve the quality of their lives and ultimately save money as well. so that's why we're in this struggle. and we only wish our republican colleagues would join us in that passion as well. >> senator verasso, has this been a philosophical debate or mickey mouse? lieberman is just basically screwing up the works. that's what it sounds like to the person watching this. lieberman waiting until the last second, i may have said that two
months ago, but i changed my mind. >> to the people who are watching this, and who have taken part in the nbc poll, they are furious. only 32%, less than one in three americans support what the democrats are trying to cram through before christmas. the american people said, wait a second, you're going to cut $500 billion from medicare, raise taxes by $500 billion and cause my health insurance premiums to go up? and for what purpose? to put more people on medicaid and unfunded mandates to the states? like giving people a bus ticket when a bus never comes. it's hard for people on medicaid to see doctors in this country. so you look at this whole plan, this is rom emanuel, do it with sec see and do it with speed and it's not what american people want. you've worked on the hill, chris. you know what it is. people here, at least the republicans are interested in reading the bill before we vote on it. maybe the democrats don't care about knowing what's in the bill that has changed up and down, in and out.
i want to know what's in the bill. and so do the american people. even dick durbin said he doesn't know what's in the final version of the bill. >> this bill has been out there for weeks. we have been debating it on the floor of the house -- of the united states senate for weeks. we have been debating it in committee, both in the health committee and finance committee, for weeks before that. overwhelmingly people know what's in this bill. and with all due respect to my colleague, i think he must be looking at a different piece of legislation than i am. >> i'm just looking at dick durbin on the floor of the united states senate saying he doesn't know what's in it. >> you all know what's in it, because you keep talking about your version of it. the reality is, that what we have here is a bill that lowers costs, covers millions of people, and at the same time does it in a way that reduces the debt according to the congressional budget office and is fully paid for. not by the taxes that john keeps talking about and that other of our colleagues keep talking about. but primarily through industry-driven resources as well as through savings that
john mccain and others have talked about and heralded into their last presidential campaign. >> the conditioningal budget office says the cost of care will go up, quality will nottive prompt. people across america say, hey the quality right now is better if we don't change anything and they all believe, and i think rightfully so, that what they're personally going to have to pay in taxes and insurance premiums is going to be higher now than if this bill passes than it would be if we did nothing, chris. >> the rates will continue to rise, double-digit premium growth. if we do nothing, it will double in eight years. that's unsustainable for businesses and families that have to pay for it, unsustainable for the federal government in terms of its debt. and certainly for millions of americans, who go to sleep every night and don't have anything, this has got to be a hell of a lot better than what they have right now. >> it's going to kill 1.6 million jobs in america over the next four years if this goes through, chris. >> you know, senator barrasso, the republicans wait for the democrats to come out with a
health care bill every once in a while. it seems like they're the party that really tries to insure the whole country. really trying to go for universal coverage, since roosevelt, the democrats have wanted something, where all americans would have a chance to be covered for health insurance. and not have to end up in the emergency room. your party's very good at finding mistakes in the democratic side. but every time the democrats don't come up with a plan, you don't either. the republicans never have a plan for universal college, have you? >> not for that -- i want everyone insured. we need health care reform. >> when are you going to come out with a proposal? >> we need 12 million people who can get insurance if they can just buy across state lines. why are they preventing that? they would buy insurance today, 12 million more americans would be covered if we just allowed them to buy insurance across state lines. can't do it. >> you know, you don't have a plan for universal coverage, do you? >> not for universal coverage. but we have plans to help keep the cost of control -- for health care. and that was how this all started. that's what the president said. we need to get the costs under
control. this bill explodes -- >> let me -- gentlemen, i'm sorry to keep this going too fast here, but you're both pretty clear what you're saying. let's look at the exchange on the floor yesterday between senator lieberman of connecticut and senator franken in the chair. he's from minnesota. >> we'll provide an opportunity for broad savings in health care and health insurance for pretty much everybody in our country -- >> senator? the senator has spoken for ten minutes. >> i wonder if i could ask unanimous consent for an additional moment. >> in my capacity as senator from minnesota, i object. >> really? okay. i don't take it personally. i will ask unanimous consent that the remainder of my remarks be included in the record as if read. >> without objection.
>> i thank the chair. >> one senator did take that personally. here's john mccain, the senator from arizona, reacting to what we just saw today. >> i've been around here for more than 20 years. yesterday, on the floor of the senate, the senator from connecticut was finishing up his remarks, and as we always do, ever since i've been here, as we always do, he said i'd like an extra minute to finish my remarks. and it was objected to by the newest member of the united states senate. in the most brusque way. that's how the comedy in this body has deteriorated. we've got to stop -- we've got to stop this kind of behavior. i've never seen anything like that. and i hope that i don't see it again. >> well, senator barrasso, what do you make of what we saw here? >> i've only been here two years. but last night when we came in at midnight, senator franken introduced me as the guest chaplain to give the prayer. so hopefully we can have some
bipartisanship here. >> really? >> i want to work with others. i want to work to find solutions for health care. but this bill that we're -- are still waiting to see, doesn't do it. i worked in the wyoming state senate where we worked together and came to solutions. if you're going to change one-sixth of the economy of this country, chris, and you're going to affect every american personally, which is what health care does, you need a program that is bipartisan and supported by many, many members. that's the way you get a program to succeed in a way to also help keep costs under control. and this is not the way to do it. it's a lot easier to get 60% of 100 votes than have to be forced into -- 100% of 60 votes. >> what's going on with john mccain? >> oh, well, first of all, as it relates to that, with john mccain, i don't know. because i was on the floor the other day and he made comments impugning the purpose of why i was going to debate a certain amendment. so i'm not quite sure when he talks about comedy what we're talking about.
the bottom line is, what's going on here, we on the 98th filibuster of this year. a historical record. that record was broken months ago. and all that is, is to the republicans have made a decision that their votes, electoral victory next year in 2010 and positioning themselves for 2012, is for this president and this congress to fail. >> thank you senator menendez and senator barrasso. you're very good as critics. most americans have been waiting since the days of teddy roosevelt for the republican party to come through with their own program for national health insurance, a comprehensive program to insure this country, and we're still waiting. the democrats aren't perfect. the republicans aren't doing it. coming up, we've been talking all week about the plunging poll numbers and overall bad climate out there politically facing the democrats. you saw some of it right there. it certainly will have an impact on next year's midterm
elections. when we return, charlie cook and ron bernstein take a look at what it will take for president obama and the democrats to keep control of the u.s. congress. they're having a hard time doing it rye now. you're watching "hart ball" only you're watching "hart ball" only on msnbc. big deal. i'll just use my phone. sglfrnlths sglooifrnlths shed. whoops, you lost your phone and you're disoriented. i'm not disoriented. now you are. onstar automatic crash response can call to see if you're ok. onstar emergency. is everything ok howie? you don't answer, they can automatically send help to your exact location. i think i'll ride with you. the award-winning malibu. from chevy. with crest whitestrips advanced seal. you'll start seeing a whiter smile after just three days. so you can share a brilliant smile with the ones you love. crest whitestrips advanced seal, the no-slip whitestrips. ♪ and wouldn't it be nice ♪ to find a simpler way ♪ to get the best price
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representatives for the 41-seat majority and the nat where they have 60 seats, if you include lieberman, which is a risky business right now. how tough is it going to be for the democrats to hold on to congress? charlie cook editor and publisher of the cook political report. ron brownstein for atlantic media. i want to take a look at this. this is charlie's analysis. you check him. ron, here it is. look at the makeup now of the united states house of representatives. 258 democrats, a hearty, hearty majority there. only 177 republicans. and of those democratic seats, charlie, you say 40 are gettable, is one way to put it, by republicans. you could see them winning in almost every one of the seats. >> currently competitive. that doesn't count sort of the potentially competitive out there. right now, democrats have 218, the barest possible majority that's solidly or likely in their category. but that likely column has been getting smaller, because we've seen this attrition through retirements or members that haven't had races in a long time
suddenly developing tough challenges. we just upped our numbers to -- we had been saying last month 15 to 25 seats for republicans. now we're saying 20 to 30 seats likely gain for republicans. based on what we know now. that will change over time. >> what will be the result if you follow the worst-case scenario, meaning next year the unemployment rate is up around 10%, people aren't thrilled with the health care plan. barack obama's about where he is right now. could they lose as many as bill clinton lost in '94? >> i don't know if they could lose 52. could they lose 41? yes. >> lose the house? >> yes. 10% unemployment for one straight year, going into an election, that's a political no-man's land that we haven't seen since the great depression. >> it only has to hang up through the spring. >> it's not likely. it maybe gets to 9.9%. here is a statistic. the isi group, highly respected wall street economic consulting
firm, they estimate that in the household employment survey, you would need 150,000 new jobs every month for 48 months to get unemployment down to 9%. and 9%'s horrible. 150,000 net jobs a month for 48 months. let's talk about this from the report in the new national journal that's out. in 1992 which is how many years ago, 16 years ago, just before republicans took over the house in 94, there were 245 house districts where minorities were less than 20% of the population. and 109 where they were more than 30%. there was a certain number of districts lily white. and a certain number heavy minority. today it's flipped. there's only about 145 what you call white districts. and on the other hand, up to 205 districts now which have a heavy
30% minority population. which is largely in these cases hispanic. not black. >> black and asian. >> you have a huge number of districts in the country, a huge number, that have a huge, or very large minority of hispanics. that's what's new. >> this is the slow-motion demographic change that's remaking america. >> what does it do to the parties? >> it changes the dynamics significantly. almost all half of house seats today have almost 30% of the population is nonwhite. this is not just a phenomenon in phoenix, dallas and miami anymore. if you look at the maps in the story, it's spreading across the sunbelt and up the east and west coast. it is a kind of levy for democrats in this sense. democrats now hold about 70% of the seats that are substantially diverse. at least 30% minority. even in 1994, they only -- at that point in 1994 they had 92 seats that were heavily diverse. they only lost five of them. they lost a third of the
predominantly white seats. >> it's very hard to find a district that's littly-white. >> 1i8 145. >> and there's a lot more districts where your minority is hispanic and you have to look at it anyway. thank you charlie cook and ron brown stein. lieberman gets the rath in a sock puppet show. pretty funny. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. in 2009, clients rated wells fargo advisors the #1 u.s. investment firm for doing what's best for them. with advisors nearby and nationwide, we're with you when you need advice and planning expertise to meet today's challenges. wells fargo advisors. together we'll go far. ♪
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worst news about a politician this year. it will be very difficult for the former north carolina senator to come back from the public knowledge that he had this affair and fathered this baby while his wife was so badly ill and they kept it from the public while trying to win the democratic nomination for the president. what a story that's been this year. washington's best and worst dressed on the good list, president obama. no surprise there. gq calls him the best dressed president since jfk. also up there, roland burris, which the magazine credits with a sharp eye for detail and a swauf color sense. on the flop side -- flip side. i call it the flop side, barney frank cited as a schlub. and michael steele gets grief for his stiff, high-cut suits. i guess too many buttons on the top. sock it to me, the progressives over at moveon.org, set their sights on joe
lieberman. here's their send-up of the negotiations between the democratic caucus and the independent senator from connecticut. i'm being polite. >> public option? yeah! >> i'll filibuster. >> trigger? >> how about a trigger? >> yeah, a trigger. >> let me think about that for a second. hmm. filibuster. >> okay. no public option, no trigger. but how about that medicare expansion you supported three months ago? >> yeah, boy, i would rather see all health care reform die than cave to the demands of my constituents. >> i think they got him. it brings us to tonight's big number. move-on's latest money campaign. targets leeb other -- lieberman's push. buy-in which he did support three months ago, how much did
move-on raise on that? in just two days, $1 million. tonight's big number. that's hardball. join us weeknights at 5:00 and 7:00 eastern. up next "your business." a home-cooked meal at work with new marie callender's home-style creations. marie callender's home-style creations -- a little touch of home for lunch. [ male announcer ] becky loves marie callender's home-style creations. but where does she find them? not in the freezer section. that's why becky uses gps. not that kind. go to the pasta or soup aisle to find marie callender's home-style creations. keep up the good work, becky.